Gender Breakdown of my Ancestry Matches

When I first took a snapshot of my Ancestry match data, I didn’t bother taking every piece of information available. For example, I didn’t think that the kit administrator info was useful (the “managed by XXX”), but I’ve changed my mind. So before I did a re-run to capture the extra detail I had a look to see what else I’d skipped over.

One piece of information available is the gender of our matches.  Visually, the match list pages usually make it very clear by the Pink and Blue headshot graphics.



But it’s not so easy to tell, when the match has uploaded a photo of what looks like a tasty cocktail.

Thankfully, the gender is readily available “behind” the graphics. Every match has a gender tag of “male” or “female” within the web HTML.

It occurred to me that if this setting is user-selected, then it might not always be accurate. I was trying to remember if I ticked a gender box on sign-up, but then I realized that DNA testing companies have the definitive answer – that whole Y chromosome stuff.

So I revisited my August 2018 snapshot of matches and assigned the gender information to each of my matches. I did the same for the kit of a friend of mine. She has twice my matches – as shown in these numbers:

But the gender breakdown is remarkably similar, in that we both have the same proportion of male and female matches.

Unless we’re both outliers, more women than men are testing with Ancestry.

Once I had these numbers, I wondered if there was a difference in gender in the proportion of testers interested in genealogy versus interested solely in ethnic heritage. I have no way of knowing why people test, but I do have metrics on which of my matches have trees. There turned out to be very little gender difference, 28% of men have no tree versus 26% of women.

How many of my Ancestry Matches have added or removed Trees in the Last 3 Months?

I conducted a review in May 2018 of all my DNA matches on Ancestry and recorded whether the match had a public or private tree, and whether a tree was linked to their DNA. I ran the same review three months later in August 2018, having seen an additional 15 hundred matches added during that time.

The percentage breakdown of public linked/public unlinked/private/none has not changed in rounded numbers. It remains as 40% of my matches have a public linked tree and 27% have at least one public unlinked tree. 7% have only a private tree. 26% had no tree at all.

I’m relieved that the 26% No Tree has not increased. See my May blog post for a comparison with other Ancestry users who have blogged on their numbers. One comment from Blaine Bettinger mentioned he was interested in tracking how many new matches add a tree after a period of time such as a year.

Well, only three months have passed for me but as I have the data to hand, I’ll take a look at the breakdown: of both new matches and also of older matches who have since added a tree within the last three months.

Some good news for me is:
102 matches had no tree in May 2018 and have since added a public or unlinked tree.
28 matches had a private tree and have since added a public or unlinked tree.
7 matches had no tree at all and have since added a private tree.

Ignoring the private trees, in total about 1.2% of my matches added an available tree after some delay in time.

But I must hold off on breaking out the bubbly! Some of my matches went in the reverse direction.

42 matches had a public linked or unlinked tree and have since gone private, leaving no public tree available.
 4 matches had a public linked or unlinked tree and have gone nuclear i.e. they’ve removed any tree from Ancestry.
 0 matches were private and had gone nuclear – just adding that one in for completeness.

It’s still a positive balance.

But it leaves me with a net of 0.8% of older matches who went from no public tree to delivering a new available tree within the last three months.


I stated that the overall proportions of tree availability hadn’t changed since my prior evaluation of May 2018. That isn’t the case when I evaluate only the matches who were added within the last three months. Below is a side-by-side.

So that 3 month breakdown is of about 1500 matches, or about 14% of my current overall total. I don’t like to see that the “No Tree” category is proportionally larger at 37% versus the overall 26% figure. It made me triple-check the figures, but that’s the current picture.

August 2018 Analysis of Growth of Matches on AncestryDNA

This post follows on from my May 2018 analysis of the rate of growth of my DNA matches on Ancestry between July 2017 and May 2018. I took another snapshot of all my DNA matches in August 2018. I’m interested in capturing:


See the earlier post for background on the technical aspects. Here I’ll just dive into the numbers.


These are the total numbers at each snapshot in time: 5,100 in July 2017, 7,494 in Feb 2018, 9,026 in May 2018, and the latest number is 10,566 total matches.

The time intervals aren’t exactly similar between Feb->May and May->August but close enough to say that the rate of growth is fairly even: 17% and 15% respectively.


I am also interested in the number of matches broken down by CM, which Ancestry does not provide via the website. I’m going to roll up the matches into four ranges (see the same section in my July post for why I’m doing this):
6 CM to 6.9 CM
7 CM to 9.9 CM
10 CM to 19.9 CM
20 CM and over

Here are the raw numbers:

Below is a chart of the distribution. There is no change across periods, which is no great surprise. I discussed the distribution in the prior post.

The percentages for “20 CM and above” are a little hard to read in the above graphic, because they are proportionally small. They read: 1.1%, 1.2%, 1.0%, 1.0%.


In late April of this year, a wave of publicity arose from the use by the FBI of Gedmatch (a DNA matching site) to help catch the “Golden State Killer”. There’s a great round-up of links on the Cruwys blog.

There has been speculation in the DNA genealogical world that the publicity of outside agencies using our DNA might lead to people using the opt-out function in Ancestry, or remove their DNA entirely. I have no accurate way of measuring opt-out rates using snapshots in time, as I can’t capture new testers who immediately opt out. But I’ll take a look at the figures I have to hand.

My May snapshot was taken mid-month, and in a prior post on Ancestry opt-outs I noted that two matches disappeared between my February and May snapshots. Before that, five matches had disappeared some time between July 2017 and February 2018.

Between Mid-May and Mid-August, a total of 9 matches have disappered from my list. Just to be clear, these are matches that were present in mid May and are no longer available to me. I have no way of measuring matches who signed up in June and opted out in July or on the day their results came through.

Of these nine people, three had linked their DNA to family trees so its a pity to lose them. You’d think this trio weren’t people who were only interested in ethnic heritage and hadn’t realized that matching existed.

So 9 losses in the past three months is of course more than 2 in the prior three months. Not enough to worry me, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the numbers.